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Head of Creative Agency Arrested amid Reports of Wider Crackdown

Police arrested Giorgi Okmelashvili, head of the creative agency Limoni, on charges of violence against police amid broader concerns that authorities are cracking down on individuals and agencies critical of the government.

Police confirmed the arrest after reports in media and social media that police raided the agency’s pavilion and Okmelashvili’s house. The statement by the Interior Ministry said Okmelashvili was arrested “as a result of operative measures and investigative actions” on charges of attacking police officers.

According to the statement, the suspect “physically assaulted the employees of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs” during a May 13 rally at the Parliament building on Tbilisi’s Rustaveli’s Avenue. Okmelashvili, charged under Article 353​1 (Attacking a police officer, employee of the Special Penitentiary Service or other representative of authority or a public institution) faces “up to 7 years” in prison.

According to reports on social media, at least four other creative and media agencies – AdFlex, H0lymotors, Ogilvy, and Betterfly – have been recently subjected to sudden checks by finance authorities.

The reports come amid a broader crackdown on critical voices and organizations as the ruling Georgian Dream party pushes through the foreign agents’ law despite massive opposition and protests. A growing number of government critics have been subjected to intimidation, physical violence by groups of thugs, and police brutality.

As protests flare in the streets of Tbilisi, authorities have pledged stricter punishments for violent protesters. Several protesters have been arrested in police raids on similar charges over the past days.

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